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Cultivating a net zero mindset

Event organised by ICE

28 April 2022

This event has now ended

You can catch-up on details or any broadcast and downloads here.


Net zero is an outcome of how we choose to live and behave. It will not happen without us holding the requisite mindset that enables us to create diverse and effective options to choose from and then be motivated to enact them.

Professor Colin Taylor, ICE Policy Fellow for Sub-National Decarbonisation and Emeritus Professor of Earthquake Engineering, University of Bristol, will explore the learning science and psychology that underpins our transition to a new mindset that will enable us to create, and flourish in, a decarbonised future.

As part of the webinar, he will draw on his experience working with BACS (now Pay.UK), the UK payments infrastructure provider. Colin and his colleagues at the University of Bristol explored how people come to a decision to change their current accounts. The team developed an agent behaviour model, founded on learning and decision theory and systems thinking, which makes remarkably good forecasts of customer current account switching behaviour up to 18 months ahead. Pay.UK uses the model in deciding upon its Current Account Switching Service (CASS) marketing strategy and budgets.

Choosing to switch your bank account is no different, fundamentally, from, for example, choosing to switch to an electric car. You need to achieve the same key set of five learning outcomes, including the motivation to act. Colin will show how we can translate the Pay.UK model and theory to decarbonisation.

South West Infrastructure Partnership

Colin is championing the South West Infrastructure Partnership’s net zero route mapping activities, which is rooted in learning science and systems thinking. He will elaborate on this aspect of the route map for the first time. In doing so, he will show why it is vital for future infrastructure professionals to have mastery of learning and systems thinking alongside their more traditional technical mastery.

The SWIP route mapping exercise involved over 500 participants, who diagnosed the barriers that are stopping us from delivering net zero now. Over 1000 data points were collected from which Colin, and his colleague, Dr Neil Carhart, from the University of Bristol, teased out three key pillars on which the South West’s net zero journey depends:

  • Establishing a net zero mindset and the brave, ambitious, leadership that must accompany it
  • Building comprehensive carbon literacy across all stakeholders
  • Establishing effective collaboration mechanisms through which stakeholders can devise and implement the new decarbonised value chains upon which net zero delivery will depend in perpetuity.

Further details of the SWIP route map can be found here.


Colin Taylor

Colin Taylor

University of Bristol

emeritus professor

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Colin Taylor

Colin is emeritus professor of earthquake engineering at the University of Bristol. He is an ICE policy Fellow for sub-national infrastructure decarbonisation, and is champion of the South West Infrastructure Partnership’s net zero route mapping activities. He has over 40 years' research and practice experience on the impacts of natural hazards on all kinds of infrastructure systems.

For more information please contact:

Lidia Pearce